History, Theory, and Philosophy of Science (In SMAC + RT) 7th smester -Fall 2005 Institute of Media Technology and Engineering Science Aalborg University.
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History, Theory, and Philosophy of Science (In SMAC + RT) 7th smester -Fall 2005 Institute of Media Technology and Engineering Science Aalborg University Copenhagen 5 th Module An operational definition of Transdiciplinarity Luis E. Bruni
From the last lecture: “Transdisciplinarity was born” The advances in the new disciplines were marked by many travels back and forth between machine, organisms, man, and society. From the machine to the living organism transferring from one to the other the ideas and concepts e.g. feedback and finality opening the way for automation and computers. The vocabularies of engineering and physiology started to be used interchangeably the basics of a common language and concepts from cybernetics, system theory, cognitive science, etc. was created e.g. learning, regulation, adaptation, self-organization, perception, memory, emergence, feedback, attractors, agency. The need to make machines imitate certain functions of living organisms contributed to the speeding up of progress in the understanding of cerebral mechanisms.
Definitions Terms such as interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary → often used interchangeably. These concepts can be considered as different degrees of interaction and integration between knowledge domains. Cross-disciplinary Research → research effort that involve investigators drawn from different disciplines. This term refers to all types of discipline-crossing research without qualifying the interaction between the investigators. Collins (2002); Stokols et al. (2003)
What is your discipline? Discipline → a body of knowledge or branch of learning characterized by an accepted content and learning. Research within a discipline is sometimes referred to as unidisciplinary or monodisciplinary research. Research is restricted to one research discipline and to one branch or specialization within a research field. People working within one discipline study the same research objects → share the same paradigm → use common methodologies → and speak the same "language".
Multidisciplinarity Multidisciplinary Research → the coordinated efforts of several disciplines to achieve a common goal. In multidisciplinary research the nature of the problem requires that investigators from different disciplines collaborate and share results. However → the contributions drawn from different disciplines are largely complementary not integrative. A variety of disciplines collaborate in one research program without integration of concepts, epistemologies, or methodologies. The degree of integration between disciplines is restricted to the linking of research results.
Interdisciplinarity Interdisciplinary Research → integration of several disciplines creating a unified outcome that is sustained and substantial enough to enable a new discipline to develop over time. Integration of multiple disciplines requires collaboration at the level of designing new types of (experimental) approaches and analysis that combine methods and concepts from the different disciplines. While working jointly → investigators work from each of their respective disciplinary perspectives. It is also a collaboration of several disciplines → but in this case concepts, methodologies, or epistemologies are explicitly exchanged and integrated, resulting in a mutual enrichment.
Transdisciplinarity Transdisciplinary Research → Development and application of a shared, integrative conceptual framework based on discipline-specific theories, concepts, and methods. Instead of working in parallel → investigators collaborate across levels of analysis and intervention to develop a comprehensive understanding of the problem at hand. In transdisciplinary research → investigators develop a shared conceptual framework that integrates and transcends their respective disciplinary perspective.
Collaboration Most collaborative research involving investigators from different disciplines starts off as multidisciplinary and some efforts will evolve to become interdisciplinary. Transdisciplinary research → requires the highest degree of collaboration. It is important to distinguish between these modes of collaboration.
Different sources of knowledge Transdisciplinarity → can be considered as a specific form of interdisciplinarity → in which boundaries between and beyond disciplines are transcended → and knowledge and perspectives from different scientific disciplines as well as non-scientific sources are integrated. It is increasingly recognized that transdisciplinary research is particularly suitable for solving complex societal problems → as it integrates knowledge from different scientific disciplines ánd knowledge from non-scientific sources. What are non-scientific sources of knowledge?
Transdisciplinarity, complexity and sustainability As transdisciplinarity originates from the increasing demand for relevance and applicability of academic research to the challenges of complex societies → some prefer to center the definition around societal challenges rather than around academic research. Transdisciplinarity → can also include a new form of learning and problem solving → involving co-operation among different parts of society (incl. academia) → in order to meet complex challenges of society. Solutions are devised in collaboration with multiple stakeholders → through mutual learning → the knowledge of all participants is enhanced. In the context of the increasing urgency for the transition towards a sustainable society → we need to gain more insights and experience in the epistemology, methodology and management of transdisciplinary research and processes Regeer (2002); Flinterman et.al. (2001); Klein et.al. (2001)